In the last few years, census studies said interracial marriages were on the rise. This is very cool because our generation is the one that is essentially going to change the way people look in the US within the next few generations.
Living in the San Francisco area, I see interracial couples everywhere. And the one thing I wondered about was what it was like to bring interracial families together. If two people both bring strong cultures and beliefs to the relationship, and they come from different backgrounds, how do they come together?
And then, I lived it myself. My husband's family can trace his ancestors here in the US for awhile back. My family, however, is all born and raised in El Salvador, except for me and my sister. I grew up with very Hispanic-oriented beliefs and in a culture that holds different values. It was crazy to see the dynamics of our families come together in my relationship, and it was kind of funny, too.
Here are a few things I learned can happen when interracial families come together:
1. Language barriers will be tricky.
My parents' first language is Spanish. My mom has been able to pick up quite a bit of English from her job and from raising us in the US, but my dad hasn't. So, when it comes to communicating, it's always a little awkward.
My mom and mother-in-law actually talk a lot and communicate well. My dad never really picked up too much English, but at our wedding, my dad and father-in-law spent 20 minutes talking. I don't even know how because my husband's parents don't know any Spanish. I guess men really do just get each other.
2. Parents will react to your relationship differently.
My husband's family took me in the second my husband and I were together when we were 14. They were very welcoming, and when my husband and I got engaged, they were ecstatic.
My husband got along very well with my mother, but my Hispanic dad, of course, was always hesitant about any guy. When we told my family the news about the engagement, my family responded like it was this massive life event. My husband's family, however, was happy, yet chill.
My husband asked my dad for permission to marry me because of my family's strong values. This was a really sweet thing to see him think about, since his family wouldn't normally consider that.
3. You'll both feel out of place.
Sometimes, it's hard for my husband to be alone with my family because of the language barrier. I try to translate and keep the conversation going, but it can be hard.
I used to be a little awkward with his family, too. They're very involved in politics, news and sports, which are three things I never really cared about growing up. I've learned a few things about this stuff now, and I continue to work on getting more involved.
4. Family dynamics will always be different.
My husband's family celebrates birthdays and holidays together all the time. For them, this is when they see each other and catch up. Even though they live in the same town, they've all gone their own ways.
My family pretty much lives together (or at least close by), and everyone is very involved with one another. So when we came together, I would always wonder why my husband wouldn't maintain much communication outside of these celebrations. I would talk to my mom every other day, and she would visit often. My mom even used to remind my husband to call his mom, which was pretty hilarious.
5. Things won't make sense.
My mom really believes in home remedies, and she is slightly religious. This is because she grew up in a very strict, religious home, but she let it go when she moved to the US.
My husband's mom is a nurse, so she's trained in a lot more practical methods of treatments. When my husband's mom was in school to become a nurse, she had to learn about other cultures' forms of medical care. She interviewed my mom, and she found out some interesting and weird home remedies she never even knew about.
6. The best of both worlds will come together.
My husband and I brought these two very different families together, and because of this, they get along and make the cultural differences work to their advantage. They put in the effort and have been very welcoming of each other. Now, it's like we have two sets of parents, and we couldn't be happier.